realenglishfruit

Top fruit tree growing advice and information from Real English Fruit

How to deal with peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl

Peach leaf curl, photo courtesy of Joel Ignacio, flickr.com

Did your peach, nectarine or apricot look odd with reddened, screwed up, puckered leaves?. Or no crop or very little? That’s most likely the result of the fungal disease “peach leaf curl” and frost damage. To begin with, now is the time – late October/early November – to collect all those leaves, infected or not. Do NOT compost them. Put them all in the non-recycling bin. Once the soil underneath those trees is clear of all litter, cover the soil with a 4 cm-deep layer of straw-based farm yard manure. Leave no gaps uncovered.

Phase 2 is equally important; it has to do with making sure that the “Peach leaf curl” fungus no longer has a chance to disfigure your tree. Make yourself a framework, as illustrated by the picture below, to stop the new young foliage becoming wet. Cover the wood frame with plastic or garden fleece. The framework is needed to stop the plastic or garden fleece cover, touching anywhere any limb or branch or  twig of the tree. By keeping the young newly-emerging foliage dry, the spores of the fungus are unable to germinate on the newly emerging foliage. Don’t forget these trees flower very early in the season. The new cover will also protect the blossom from damaging spring frosts. And finally when the fruits are nearly ready, the wooden frame is also very useful to fasten on to some netting, to stop the birds eating your peaches or apricots, before you had a chance to taste the fruits.

Frame for fleece on an espalier tree

Frame for fleece on an espalier tree

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